By Allison Hamila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Henry Liaw is the Arizona men's golf team's golden boy - just don't tell him that.
The humble junior realizes that he is a leader of the team, but how many leaders have you met who shy away from the word leader?
"I don't like to use that word," he said. "It feels controlling."
He said that Arizona head coach Rick LaRose says everyone is a leader and they are there to pick each other up.
Liaw has been on the radar as one of the school's best golfers since he came to Arizona as a freshman, playing with the likes of Arizona alum and pro golfer Chris Nalen.
"He was probably the best player then too, but he was not necessarily a leader," Arizona assistant coach John Knauer said.
Knauer said it just wasn't his turn in the pecking order. Now that Liaw has seniority, he is becoming the top dog he was destined to be.
"He was a young freshman," Knauer said. "I have seen him grow as a person off the golf course and become more of a leader."
Liaw seems to lead by example and advice, and he gives off an extremely team-oriented vibe in such an individualized sport. He is the type that takes the freshmen and younger team members under his wing and tells them how to succeed.
"It's nice to see freshmen develop," Liaw said.
Coach Knauer said that he sees that Liaw has really come along maturitywise and that he sees him doing well this year.
"He is on the cover of the media guide for a reason," Knauer said.
I don't worry about golf 24/7. Eventually all things will come together.
- Henry Liaw
Liaw said he doesn't let the pressure go to his head, however. When his extensive biography is mentioned, he doesn't gloat about his many accomplishments.
"I don't try to pressure myself," Liaw said. "I try to go out there and have fun."
He said that it is not productive to look at rankings because it can make a player start to play outside his game.
"I don't worry about golf 24/7," Liaw said. "Eventually all things will come together."
Being one of the most talented players in the program has not inflated Liaw's ego. He credited the Arizona program for teaching him to be less aggressive in his game.
He leads as well with his attempt to stay consistent, which Liaw says is one of the hardest things about the game.
"Sometimes I get too sporadic and play too aggressive and hit one like (the) Fourth of July, all over the map," he said.
Liaw said he hopes to be named Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year and to receive All-American honors.
But like a true leader, he doesn't want all the glory for himself.
"I want a national championship for the team," Liaw said.
Liaw said that playing college golf has taught him a lot about life.
"A lot of the guys who are recruited are the best in the country," he said. "Golf is the same as life. You learn from it."
Coach Knauer said he expects Liaw to have a huge spring. If he does, he expects that confidence to run over to next season.
"It's just like learning how to ride a bike; you are not going to forget it," Knauer said. "You are not going to forget how to win or how to play well."
Being a leader isn't supposed to be easy. The uncertainties are mounting, but Liaw should be up for the challenge.